“There are daggers in men’s smiles.” This quote was written by William Shakespeare in the 16th century but it is perhaps even more applicable in the modern 21st century, with deceit and treachery spreading through society like wildfire. In such and advancement and complex time, ignorance can become a grave problem for the youth. This ignorance, however, can quickly be turned to intellect and awareness with the help of one readily available, yet readily forgotten asset – literature.
There is great power in the written word. Unfortunately, literature has taken a back foot in society, being neglected in particular by the youth. It seems we have forgotten that the foundations of the philosophy of our very own country were greatly backed by the lessons conversed through literature, by great poets like Allama Muhammad Iqbal. Similarly, classic literature serves as a powerful means of character development, be it stories such as H G Wells’ “The Door in the Wall”, which teaches one the attraction and drive for one’s ambitions or the difficulty in finding oneself highlighted by Constantine in “Watching for Dolphins”. Simple antagonism of ill virtues of greed, lust and pride in literature serves as a subtle yet powerful means of righting the wrong in the growing generations.
On the contrary what happens when you are detached from literature? The perspective of the youth remains shallow and their mindsets narrow. Children from Pakistan need to be able to face competition in the international market as they grow, and they cannot do so if they cannot read into people or think beyond the box, something which a love for literature undoubtedly makes easier. In addition to this, a growing fear is that the youth has become to materialistic, too caught up in monetary possessions. In literature we have Dickens, Alex Le Guma and other renowned authors writing about thinking beyond the restrictions of money and possessions. Such wisdom is required for our youth to have a productive mindset. The intricate details of morals and human behaviour is something which is very difficult to grasp, but authors of old took it upon themselves to make their work universal. In his poem, “The Poplar Field”, William Cowper alludes to human life being comprised of “fugitive years” which are readily “hastening away”. This sometimes sour reality of the brevity of human life is truly difficult to relate through word, but one reads it as if etched in stone, the youth realised the importance of taking advantage of the little time they have. After all, in light of Shakespeare’s wisdom, “life is a stage” and we “players” must do our best to leave our mark on this platform, otherwise we can at least take solace in the fact that “all is well that ends well”.